Far-reaching tribal solidarity displayed at pipeline protest

Prairie Knights

Joye Braun, an organizer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline opposition, poses for a photo at a protest near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in southern North Dakota on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.

They say it could disturb sacred sites and impact drinking water for 8,000 tribal members in the North Dakota area, as well as millions further downstream the MS and Missouri rivers.

Neither is the tribe happy about the appropriation of its identity in the name of the pipeline, "This is our homeland", said Phyllis Young, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux. "Where this pipeline crosses the Missouri River, there are 10 million people below the crossing who depend on that river as a water source".

The oil pipeline, which was the first to be constructed and is almost complete, is under investigation by federal pipeline regulators after former contractors said the pipeline was installed under the lake without proper inspection.

Earlier Wednesday, the Iowa board told Dakota Access that it must to provide detailed information about the construction progress in the state, as well as more information about costs the company will incur if it's required to work around the landowner's parcels. "We need clean water to drink, and I believe these pipelines are too risky to place near water sources". His message is the same message Native Americans have said since contact.

"I fought in Iraq", he said.

While American Indian tribes continue to be plagued with poverty and all the health and social ills it breeds, Indian country is now facing another threat: corporate invaders. "Everything else is pushed aside, and we stand together". "We have been here for generations, we are protecting water for all generations and all cultures, all people and all life". "Now I'm fighting for our children and our water".

As the protest gained momentum, the tribes have been joined by environmental groups concerned over the impact of fossil fuels on climate change. SRSN leaders also say the tribe has not been consulted about the pipeline route, which violates the tribe's status as a federally recognized sovereign entity. Lines of cops stood between the construction workers and the protesters, some of whom rode on horseback wearing their traditional tribal garb. There have been at least 20 arrests for misdemeanor offenses such as trespassing.

"This peaceful protesting is happening every day in North Dakota", she said. The company is a joint venture involving Paradigm Energy Partners, Phillips 66 and Greywolf Midstream, an entity owned by the tribe that's an investor in the project.

The Sioux tribe awaits a decision by U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg on a case it filed August 18.

It's expected the encampment will remain in place until at least September 9, when a federal court judge is expected to decide whether to issue an injunction against the pipeline's Missouri River crossing while it decides the Standing Rock Sioux's claim that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to follow federal law in giving permission for the water route near the reservation.

While Cornsilk stresses that the handful of supporters departing for North Dakota are not in any way associated with the tribal governments, though the Cherokee Nation has made known its position on the protests.

Kirchmeier said the sheriff's department is working in cooperation with law enforcement from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Cass County Sheriff's Department, Fargo Police Department, North Dakota Highway Patrol, Stutsman County Sheriff's Department, Dunn County Sheriff's Department, McLean County Sheriff's Department, Grand Forks Police Department and Emmons County Sheriff's Department. "We're not against the construction crews - we know they are just trying to make a living".

"We refer to this pipeline as the black snake".

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